Wednesday, November 25, 2015
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Mark Robertson on REEL SEO

Video Marketing Expert Series With Mark Robertson


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REEL SeoHave you heard of REEL SEO, yet? Well, if you haven’t had a chance to check out their blog we can’t recommend it enough! Mark Robertson, founder of Reel SEO, has created one of the most inclusive and educational Video Marketing blogs on the web. Every week they explore Viral Videos, SEO, Corporate Videos, and everything else video you can imagine!

In this episode, of the Video Marketing Expert Series Cory sits down with Mark to discover some of his personal secrets for Video SEO and explores the fun origin of the one of the web’s hottest blogs!

It is a one of a kind site that is really the biggest advocator and basically has a treasure trove of content on online video marketing, which provides insight into news, tips, trends, overall guidance for those wishing to leverage video marketing, social media and search engine optimization. He’s got a number of years of experience with video SEO. He’s a popular speaker, consultant, passionate thought leader with online video marketing and search engine marketing industry. And so, he speaks all over the world. And he’s really the top guy when it comes to video marketing website and how to SEO.


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The Video Marketing Expert Series with Mark Robertson:


Cory:  Cory Michael Sanchez here, with Mojo Video Marketing, on the next installment of the Video Marketing Expert Series. And today, I’m talking with Mark Robertson, the founder and CEO of


Now, if you’re involved with video marketing at all of any kind, you should definitely need to know reelseo. It is a one of a kind site that is really the biggest advocator and basically have so much content on online video marketing — provides insight into news, tips, trends, overall guidance for those wishing to leverage video marketing, social media and search engine optimization.


And I’m really excited to talk with Mark because he’s an SEO genius. I mean, he really knows his way around search engine optimization, and especially, when it relates to video. He’s got a number of years of experience. He’s a popular speaker, consultant, passionate thought leader with online video marketing and search engine marketing industry. And so, he speaks all over the world. And he’s really the top guy when it comes to video marketing website and how to SEO. And so I’m excited about this.


He’s spoken in conferences such as Search Engine Strategies, UBCon, Video Commerce Summit, Stream Media SMX, a whole lot more. So, how are you doing today, Mark?


Mark:  I’m great! Thanks for having me. That was a — that was quite an introduction. [Laughs] Thanks!


Cory:  [Laughs] you’re welcome, man! Well, hey, I’m really excited about this because we’re actually putting together — we’re redoing our site right now. And it’s great to be chatting with you! Just because, us — like, other companies out there — we want to incorporate video. And we know how important it is to use search engine optimization strategies with video marketing. And it just seem like if you want that information, you got to pay a lot of money for it. You got to go to a consultant who you’re going to pay a lot of money to have consult for you. Or you really just have to dig really deep and find out these new ones, which aren’t really widely [inaudible] one.


So I’m really excited to talk with you. And because I know, starting out reelseo — it was just kind of a passion project for you. And it became something huge — bigger than you ever thought it would be. So tell us a little bit more about yourself, Mark. And about how reelseo started.


Mark:  Sure. Well, to start off, if anybody needs some really expensive consulting, I’m available. [Laughs]


Cory:  [Laughs]


Mark:  Yes! For a number of years, I worked at a large media company — Freedom Communications — who has newspapers and broadcast stations around the nation. And I was in-charge of — I was Director of Search for our 200 plus websites. And one of the things I started noticing in 2006 is Google’s launch of universal searchers; these video thumbnails popping in Google. And being that I’m an SEO guy, I wanted to find out more about how that’s happening or how that was working. And so — I noticed that hardly anyone was writing about it and I really just started this blog with reelseo branded and know reel in film or fishing rods but it was [laughs] the closest thing I could think of. And really, it was just kind of a project for myself, an aggregate information about this. So I myself learned how to optimize video and what I quickly found out is there are sure a lot of listeners know, and certainly you guys, to those who’ve been involved with video for much longer than I have is that there’s a heck of a lot more to it than just how you publish a flash element to the page and how you describe your video.


So for me to really grasp how to leverage online video and marketing, I had to start learning about what are the right ways to produce video and how you do a storyboard, and those sorts of things. And so I quickly realized that, “Oh my gosh! It’s much more broad than SEO!” And since — I’d say about mid-2008, we started to broaden the focus of our content such that palpably, only 10% of it is directly related to SEO. But we still have that domain name which —


So next year, we’ll probably look for some changes there. And we’re going to try and broaden the brand as well. But at this point, yeah, we’ve – it’s grown actually quite a bit. And just today, we hit 400,000 pages a month, which for a blog is great, especially a niche blog. And then the whole goal is — it is really to actually [ph] move the slide to the next slide. By the way, I’m not really into baseball despite this baseball card of myself.


Cory:  [Laughs] you’re still an all-star, though. That’s for sure!


Mark:  [Laughs] That’s right! I’m a streamingmedia all-star! streamingmedia, by the way, is another great site for those who want to learn more about the technology of online video. But — so anyway, yeah, the website is something where I’ve had a few dedicated columnists as well as myself. And then we have guest hosts almost on a weekly basis. But really, our goal is for ourselves to use this as a platform to learn as much as we can because, like I said, there’s always something to learn with online video.


But also, I think, we kind of enjoy evangelizing for the industry and sharing those how-to tips and those tutorials. We also do cover news that we think is important. But really, it’s always kind of trying to teach people what they need to know for this. So we’d love it if we can get more subscribers and get more visitors, how we’re monetizing the site currently; and so, we encourage everybody to please visit us and subscribe.


Cory:  Oh yeah! And you got tons of great articles and tons of great authors, too, which is pretty powerful. I mean, it’s not — I remember when you said you started out as just kind of a one-man band kind of deal. I think you had an interesting story about how you truly got started on this whole endeavor where you just kind of thrust into it. Isn’t that right?


Mark:  Yeah. I mean, a year ago – yeah, that’s a part I just forgot and left out — yeah, a year ago, that full time job — I quit. I was really tired of – granted the people of the company were great. I was really tired of working for a very old-school mentality in terms of the executive team. So it’s hard to get much done that was exciting. So I decided to leave. And I thought, “Well, I could make something out of this.” And so for the last year, I’ve been focused, almost exclusively, on just trying to produce as much quality content as we can. We try our best not to disregard press releases.


With that, I started looking for some writers. And, believe it or not — one of them who’s great – his name is Christophor Rick. I actually found him on Elance. And that was sort of a fluke where I wanted a couple of others quotes [ph] written. And he happened to be willing to research topics. And he submitted some great articles. And so I’ve been working with him for about two years.


And then through a mutual introduction, I was introduced to Jeremy Scott, who is one of our favorites. He writes almost on a daily basis. So they’re both paid contributors.


And then there’s Grant Crowell who also loves the space. And he’s a paid contributor but he also writes a lot of things that he enjoys. And they have somewhat free range just sort of to – with some certain guidelines in terms of what the readers enjoy but the goal being, that they can talk about the things that they’re interested in. Jeremy’s very interested in viral video concepts and marketing. And so he tends to cover that quite often.


So, yeah, the last year, the focus has been on trying to really provide good content, and this and that. Of course, I’m doing a lot of web development. We just recently optimized the site for page load time. So it’ll be speedier and things like that. But yeah, the last year, the focus has been on really making our site much more of a useful resource that everybody involved in online video and marketing and scope.


Having those writers was great! One other tip, I guess I would give to anybody who’s starting a blog or has a blog and wants to get some great quality content is we opened up the site to guest contributors. And you’d be amazed at how many people out there want to spend the time to write quality content for you just in exchange for exposure on your site. And so we get, probably on a weekly basis, a guest contribution. We point them to some guidelines that we look for in those posts. And for the most part — I’d say about 90% of them have been great, quality content. And we had one this week about a non-existent Facebook TV platform and how that would be great if it were launched. That was completely a guest post. So, yeah, we have had some great success over the last year. We’ve doubled in traffic.


Cory:  Now, that’s awesome! And I know in a moment, you’re going to teach us some ninja tactics on how to really optimize your website with video. And, real quick, just go on back to the author thing. It is kind of interesting because a lot of people want to start sites and blogs in their individual niche, whatever it is. And they were like, “Do I have to write all these content myself or can I go out and find other people to help me with it?” I’m sure you get approached all the time. But how did you find your main authors when it comes to your website that are actively contributing? Do they do it for free? Do they do it because they like it? What’s that all about?


Mark:  Sure. I have three contributors that are paid. One I found on Elance; the other, I found thru a friend; and the third one, Grant. We just sort of hooked up at a conference years ago. He was one of the only other people at that time talking about video SEO. And so there are constant contributors. And really, aside from the fact that I very much enjoy what they write about and how they write, the goal for me was — exactly what you just said — was to kind of free up my time to do more site development, marketing and testing on my own thing I enjoy rather than writing every single day because it’s difficult to keep up. But in addition to that, like I said, we probably get between one and two very high quality posts a month, which — I’m sorry, a week — just from people out in the space that are interested in writing and actually email us and say, ”Hey, could we write for you?” And one of the other things I neglected to mention about the power of that is aside from getting the free content, almost always, those guest authors can tell everybody they know that they just wrote a post for us. And they tend to link to it from their own company blogs.


And so from the SEO perspective, it’s great for that as well because, obviously, those people are going to, themselves, go out and promote the content. So that’s really been our secret so far. And for discretion as well, I am actually looking for some additional authors. I got lucky with the first three in that they’re great and they love this industry. But, I think, moving forward, I’m going to be looking for some writers that are specifically knowledgeable in certain aspects of the video. And I think that’ll be great for the next year.


Cory:  Perfect, perfect! And one thing that I wanted to talk about — because I know you’re just — basically, your website has tons of stats on what’s going on with video, not just online video but mobile video and all kinds — social media video and all of that. So what are the stats? And I know you have a slide on this that – video, as far as its popularity, what’s going on with video? Where is video going?


Mark:  Oh, well, I’m sure you guys are aware videos are growing tremendously. I think, in all honesty, I think it’s growing a little slower than I initially expected a couple of years ago. And I think that’s primarily due to the fact that, in all honesty, for those that aren’t video files — videos are sparingly complicated. I mean, it’s certainly more complicated to publish a video to your website than it is to put an image on your website.


Now, obviously, that’s changing slightly with HTML5 moving forward. I think that that’s one of the challenges why we’re not seeing growth as far as I have expected; but that being said, we’re still seeing tremendous growth and inquiries. If you look just at Google, at their search insights, and take a look at the number of people that are searching for information on online video, you’ll see that’s risen. If you look at — every month comes for video metrics but a report on the top video destination as well as the number of video strings on a monthly basis. And for the most part, with one or two exceptions over the last year, every single month has seen a tremendous increase in that.


And of course, YouTube, which is a good indicator of where online video is headed consistently, has seen huge uptakes. In March, they said that there was 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. Last week, I believe it was, possibly a week before, they said that’s now risen to 35 hours of video uploaded every single minute. And so we’re seeing tremendous growth. If you look at the monetization, the advertising — those industries are growing. And if you just really look just at what users are watching and how many people are watching video and how much video is being put online, it’s amazing how fast that’s growing.


Now, it’s not growing — like I said, it’s not growing as fast as I expected. And it’s certainly not growing as fast as, for example, social media has the past two years. But again, I think that has a little bit more to do with the complexity of online video. And eventually, I think online video really will be king when it comes to social media as well. We think about it, it’s the most compelling — a moving picture will be the most compelling way to tell a story. So, I think, we’re all in the right space. I don’t see any end in terms of growth at least in the near future. So I think we’re all well-positioned to grow.


Cory:  Yeah. Well, let me ask you this — because this kind of interests me as far as what you anticipated video would do as far as statistics-wise. It probably hasn’t grown as fast for a number of reasons. It’s still huge! And there are a number of reasons why you would absolutely want to do video. And probably, people hold back, maybe, number one, because they don’t want to be on camera. Maybe that’s one reason. Number two, maybe they don’t want to do video editing which — there are ways to not have to do that. You don’t really have to do all that much editing if you just want to put out a video. And I think those might be two reasons. And number three, like you said, it’s just a little more complicated to add video to your website which is interesting.


So what do you think will be some of the next surges when it comes to video marketing? Like, one of the things I think is that when people can more easily add videos onto their website from their mobile phone, maybe that will be the next surge. What are your thoughts on that, when it’s really, really going to take off; when new tools that are available that’ll make it easier for the people to do this?


Mark:  Yeah, I think I should clarify that what I expected to see was a larger uptake in terms of the number of businesses leveraging online video, and producing video, and uploading video. I think that the growth in terms of consumption and monetization is very huge. And I think that’s in line with what everybody has expected. But as far as what I see over the next couple of years, yeah, mobile is going to be huge. It’s already proving to be that. YouTube has stated that a very large portion — larger than you’d expect — I don’t have it on the top of my head — of video uploaded to YouTube comes from mobile devices. So I definitely see that as a big trend. I think we’re seeing a lot of very inexpensive but fairly good quality of camcorders. So I think that’s useful for some in video production.


I think there are some really interesting technical advances that we should see over  the next couple of years. In particular, with regard to the challenge that exists, and we’ll talk more about this in a minutes, but with regard to search engines actually crawling and understanding the whole content. So I think we’re going to start seeing some camcorders that perhaps automatically injects some metadata into the video — that if a camcorder, for example, knows you’re in a certain geo-location, then it could add that metadata and things like that. So, yeah, I think there’d be interesting developments there. And then there are quite a few interesting developments when you talk about recognition technologies being worked on for speech to text translation, object recognition, facial recognition, etc.


But as far as getting businesses where they need to be with online video, I think it just a continual push to educate them. I think, probably, the bigger challenge, and the one that I’m sure everybody, including you guys, are working on is how do we communicate to a business the value, aside from the novelty effect of it? Obviously, right now, it’s really cool to have a video on YouTube. It does really well. And a lot of businesses, they can tell them, “Hey, let’s do a viral video”, which, we don’t know, is probably the wrong strategy to begin with, but certainly, you can get a small video business to buy off on that. You sign a contract that — yeah, we’re interested in that. But at the end of the day, in particular with small businesses is — how do these affect my business? How many calls do they get in this? How do you know? What’s the conversion?


And I think it’s how we’re going to measure that value, and communicate that value back to the small businesses that’s going to get them to move more quickly on this. Like I said, I think right now, it’s a bit of a novelty. And there’s a lot of interest there. But down the road, it’s really going to be about how can we prove to people that this is important?


Cory:  Right. Now, I think that’s a big deal, too, because — and lot of it don’t get started because it probably takes more effort than just doing other things. And I think you’re right. Once there’s more stats and more data on the effectiveness – like, you have a video and it has this, sort of, message or — you’re going to get way more people sticking to your website. You’re going to get more engagement. You’re going to get more people calling you. So I think that’s yet to be seen, but –


I heard once that, recently — I don’t know where I found it, but it says something that – there are two figures out there – I’ll have to find out if this is absolutely true — but it said, there are two numbers you should know. It’s 6 and 57. Six stands for the amount of minutes somebody will be on your website if you have video, 57 stands for 57 seconds, which is how long they’ll be on your website if you don’t have any video. And so, I’m not exactly sure where that came from. But I did hear that. That’s probably true in some ways. I mean, if you got video on there, more people are going to engage on. I don’t think it’s an end-all. You have to have something interesting video, obviously, in order for that to take effect.


One of the things I’m always interested in is what search engines are doing with video. I know this is where your major expertise comes into play because, obviously, video is on the rise. And Google and Yahoo and Bing and AOL and all those other search engines are increasing — making videos increasingly important as far as where you link. And so, I know you have some slides on this as far as what the search engines are looking for when it comes to videos; and what they’re serving up. And so, tell us a little bit more about how video relation to the search engines?


Mark:  Certainly. Why don’t I advance the slide a bit? One of the things that I’m very passionate about — where I started from, we kind of talked about this — but personally, I very much enjoy doing search engine optimization and tinkering with code and things like that. So when I — I tend to immediately say’ “Okay, video and SEO are really important.” But a lot of times, I get the question. And I think it’s a valid question – do people actually search for video content; or is it more the people share video content; or that it’s embedded on blogs? And so I thought these stats might be useful. And all you see, this depends a bit on the content that you’re producing. If you’re producing How-To content, for example, that tends to fare itself much better in the search engines because a lot of people are searching for that.

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Reel SEO: The Best Resource For Video Marketing